Susan R. Mende

Senior Program Officer

Susan Mende, a distinguished public health professional with more than 25 years of experience working with underserved populations in the United States, Asia and Australia, joined the Foundation in 2008. She is engaged in an RWJF national program effort to help consumers take an active role in improving the quality of healthcare in their communities, and works to address the adverse impacts of language barriers in limiting access to quality health care. Through her work, Susan seeks to “put people first in the healthcare system and give a very large voice to patients, families and community groups.”

Previously, she co-founded and was vice president for programs for the Tsao Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older people in Singapore and Asia Pacific region. She co-developed the Foundation’s key divisions, managed community-based health service programs, and oversaw extensive staff and regional training for nurses, doctors, and other professionals. While at the Tsao Foundation, Susan served as principal consultant for the World Health Organization Age Friendly Primary Health Care Project, which sought to adapt primary care delivery systems to the needs of older clients. In addition to co-authoring the project’s report, she convened and presented at numerous national, regional, international and NGO World Assembly on Aging forums on primary health care.

Susan also developed health strategies for MBF Australia, a healthcare provider in Sydney, Australia, and was assistant director for Risk Management and Quality Improvement for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, where she oversaw programs in acute and long-term care facilities.

She holds an MPH from Hunter College, New York and a BS in nursing from San Francisco State University.

Born in New York, her parents were “social activists committed to a life of social justice.” Presently, she resides in Harlem, N.Y. with her husband, Lawrence Aylward, an IT systems administrator. She enjoys travel in Asia and Europe, collecting Russian art, reading mysteries, and taking her rescue dog, Tia, to the Harlem community dog park.

Headshot of Susan Mende
Connect with Susan